January 2: Where Is the New?
1. Have there been times when, like Julu, you have struggled to see the newness of your life? What kept you from noticing or feeling that newness?
2. What changes have you seen in your life that indicate the new life you have found in Christ? What does becoming a new creation in Christ look like?
3. What spiritual practices help you to renew your spirit? What new practice would you like to try in the coming week?
4. Are there scriptures that help you feel rejuvenated in your spiritual life? What about these scriptures in particular speaks to you?
5. What rituals or practices does your church have to acknowledge or celebrate new life in Christ? Are these meaningful to you? Why or why not?
January 9: Look Around
1. Recall a time when you “pulled the blinders over your eyes,” only to realize later that God was trying to tell you something. Why did you behave that way? What helped you to remove the blinders and see God’s blessings?
2. Who in your life helps you to recognize and celebrate God’s blessings? What can you learn from this person?
3. Describe a time when you chose to be open to God and to fully trust God’s promises. What was your experience?
4. Name some promises God makes in scripture. Which of these promises are most comforting to you? Which are most challenging or confusing?
5. Do you find it easier to rely on yourself sometimes, rather than turn to God? Why or why not?
January 16: Busy Days
1. Have you ever dismissed others because you didn’t feel you had time for them? What did you do to rectify the situation?
2. What helps you to step away from the busyness of your life in order to focus on showing Christ’s love to others?
3. What does it look like to live like Jesus, walking in his footsteps? Name some specific ways you show Christ’s love to others.
4. Do you find it more difficult to live like Christ when life gets busy? What scriptures or spiritual practices help you to follow Christ’s example?
5. How does your church model Christ’s love to the people in your community? In what new ways could you or others in your church shine the light of Christ beyond the church walls?
January 23: Rich in Faith
1. Describe a time when you worried that you did not have enough — enough money, enough food, enough energy, etc. What helped you to get through that experience?
2. What does a life rich in faith look like for you? What blessings do you find in spiritual wealth?
3. Are there times you struggle to live a life of Christian discipline? When you find yourself focusing more on earthly concerns or if you notice you are not making as much time for your faith as you would like, what do you do to refocus?
4. Do you find it difficult at times to focus on what you have rather than what you want? What are some scriptures or practices that help you to be mindful of the blessings in your life and to give thanks?
5. How does your church talk about money and wealth? What responsibility do we have as Christians when it comes to money?
January 30: Looming Mountains
1. Have you ever had an experience like Pat’s, where you became overwhelmed by the majesty of God’s creation? Describe your experience.
2. Think of a time when you were too close to a problem you faced and found it hard to see a solution. Did you ask God for help? What happened?
3. Do you have a specific prayer to ask God for strength when you encounter challenges? What practices help you to remember God’s presence and strength in difficult times?
4. Have you memorized psalm 121, or any other scriptures? What other scripture passage would you want to memorize so that it will come to mind in difficult moments?
5. When has your church or community faced a problem that seemed too big to be solved? How did God help you overcome that problem? What did you learn from this experience?
“Namaste, greetings, and good morning. My name is Sabita, and I am a regular reader of Mathillo Kotha, the Nepali edition of The Upper Room. I have been reading the devotional for two-three years, and it has helped me very much to grow in my faith. It has also helped my family to gather in one place and to fellowship.” Give to the International Editions of The Upper Room, and make a global impact.